The even crazier part of that 3rd-and-short stat is that as best as I can recall, Cousins was usually money on 3rd-and-short. I was always more worried when the Vikings were in 3rd-and-6+ with Cousins as I felt he looked for his safety valve way too often on those down-distance situations, but just as that tendency hurt him in those, it helped him when it was 3rd-and-3-. Not this season so far.StumpHunter wrote: ↑Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:47 pmWhat is even more shocking is that the Vikings are 18th in yards picked up on 1st down and 12th on 2nd down. So things are either going really right on 1st and 2nd down (they pick up a first), or really wrong (they lose yards or pick up nothing). Very little in between.cogitator wrote: ↑Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:53 pm I heard this stat on the radio today - the team with the most average yards to go on third down - Vikings. Kind of a shocking number, the average yardage left is 8.9. Hardly seems possible that a team would only gain one yard on average over the first two downs.
Part of that is the Vikings really struggle on 2nd down on 2nd and long, averaging the 7th fewest yards gained in that situation.
More surprising is that the Vikings are pretty much just as successful on 3rd and long (31% conversion rate- 4th best) as they are converting on 3rd and short (36 %-2nd to last). So even though we are facing a lot of 3rd and longs, it isn't necessarily the reason the offense is struggling. That 36 % is really bad btw. The best in the NFL convert on 3rd and short around 70% of the time and even the Jets managed 45.9% last year.
I don't know if its the playcalling that is contributing to this, or the utter lack of any credible downfield passing attack that is allowing defenses to creep up in the secondary and snuff the shorter yardage plays out more consistently. Whatever it is, it seems like the flip reverse of what Cousins and the offense has been known to be good at.
The more I look at the offense of the Vikings, the more confused I am by what I'm seeing. I get it if Kubiak doesn't trust the OL to hold up in pass protection. I get that they want to get the ball out quickly, and I get even how that might impact the downfield and even mid-range passing game. But what I don't get is why the Vikings can't seem to find effective counters to that. I mean, 3rd-and-3- situations don't require a lot of time for routes to develop. They don't require the OL to hold up very long. They just require precise execution and a QB who is good at seeing and hitting those shorter routes, which is something Cousins might do better than just about anyone else in the league. And yet, its not happening this year.
The run game isn't getting it done in those situations either. Maybe that can be chalked up more directly to the OL and poor run blocking coupled with not having a healthy Cook in the backfield, but still, converting on 3rd-and-short is something the Vikings offense should be doing as well as any team in the NFL at this point.